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Cattle Drive Chili – A Cowboys Staple Food – American Cattle Drives 1865-1886

This is a reworked, edited version of a 2011 posting.
With the holiday season fast approaching I thought it might be a fun to rework and repost this tidbit of American food history.

The first thing you must do is understand what life in the mid to late 19th Century [1865-1900] was like. You must understand what was and was not available to the average family or trail cook.

In many cases a cowboy was really a boy. Many young boys some only 12 years old moved millions of head of longhorn cows to market buyers. Many buyers headquartered in rail head towns like Abilene, Kansas. Longhorn cows were shipped to stockyards in Chicago and other midwest and eastern markets.
Trail drives were no place for old men or the weak.

Moving a herd of longhorns from Texas to Kansas was no small undertaking. Herds could number in 1 to 3 thousand head, could be moved only about 10 or 12 miles a day without the loss of much body weight. Cattle buyers would pay little if anything for poor starved down cows. It could take 2 or 3 months to move a large herd of longhorn cows from Texas to railheads in Kansas. It required as many as 20 sometimes more cowboys and a experienced, inventive trail cook.

Cattle drives were moving millions of cattle from Texas Midwest markets. There was stiff competition among different cattle drivers, recruiting a good cowboy was difficult. The Goodnight-Loving cattle trail, co-founded by Col. Charles Goodnight, decided to gain interest in his trail drives through good cooking.
Side note: An injured or dead cowboy was more easily replaced than a good trail cook.

Col. Goodnight needed a mobile kitchen and a good cook. He used a military wagon to hold supplies and a makeshift kitchen. The military wagon was strong enough for all the supplies and could withstand harsh weather and bumpy trails. With the help of his cook, Col. Goodnight developed an efficient layout that was soon adopted by all trail drivers across the west. It was named the chuck wagon after Charles “Chuck” Goodnight.

Cooks were the kings of the chuck wagon. Chuckwagon food typically included easy-to-preserve items like beans and salted meats, coffee, and sourdough biscuits. Wild game would also be harvested en route.
There was no fresh fruit, vegetables, or eggs available and meat was not fresh unless an animal was injured and had to be killed.
The meat they ate was greasy cloth-wrapped bacon, salt pork, and beef, usually dried, salted or smoked.
It was common for the “cook” who ran the wagon to be second in authority only to the “trailboss.” The cook would often act as doctor, barber, dentist, and banker.
You wouldn’t want to annoy the person cooking your food or treating your medical needs would you?
The cook enforced the rules of the wagon.
Cowboys were required to ride downwind so dust would not blow into the food, and no horses could be tied to the chuck wagon wheels. The cook worked the hardest with the least amount of sleep. He had to get up before the rest of the cowboys to prepare the food and had to clean up pots, pans and dishes after meals.

A typical day’s food on the trail was meat based generally beef or cured salt pork bacon, hot bread or biscuits, dried fruit and coffee for breakfast.
Lunch and dinner meals included roast beef, boiled potatoes, beans, brown gravy, bread or biscuits and coffee.
Dessert consisted of dried fruit pies, stewed dried fruit and spiced cake made without butter or eggs. These items would be cooked in a Dutch oven or skillet over hot coals.

Foods like butter, milk, eggs and fresh vegetables would soon spoil [no ice or refrigeration on the trail] and were not part of a cowboys daily menu.

Some say that ‘real’ chili can not contain beans, rice or other fillers. I disagree with this assessment. A chuck wagon cook had to feed 20 or more hungry boys 2 or 3 times a day. He had very limited resources in the variety of foods available, the number of cooking utensils and was always on a very tight time schedule to prepare and serve meals.
I think that it would not be uncommon to add fillers such as beans and rice to any one pot meal. It would cut down on preparation time, number of pots required and allow the cook to feed more cowboys using less meat.

There are thousands of ‘chili’ recipes that can be found when you do a chili recipe search. Find one that is to your liking, adjust spices to fit your taste. You can call bean soup with a bit of chili spices added chili [meatless] if that’s what you like.

Here is another Texas Red Chili Recipe
In Texas, they often refer to Texas Chili as ‘a bowl of red’ which is an old slang term carried over from the trail drive days. Unlike most other Chili, real Texas Red Chili never contains beans or other fillers. It is generally made with beef, but it can be made with goat meat.

1 pound lean ground beef [it is unlikely trail cooks had meat grinders on the chuck wagon.] More likely it was cubed meat.
6 cups water
2 pounds boneless stew meat or ground meat(beef or goat)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil [trail cooks used beef fat or pork lard. Vegetable oil had not been invented].
1 strong flavored yellow onion coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Black pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
Ground red pepper to taste (to start, about 1/2 teaspoon)
6 tablespoons Masa Harina (Mexican corn flour) or [trail cooks would have most likely used 4 tablespoons of regular yellow corn meal]

**Please note this recipe does not call for tomatoes, tomato sauce or that awful tasting ketchup. Tomato’s would go bad quickly on a trail drive.

Meantime, heat oil. When hot, brown meat, searing on all sides. When browned, add goat and or beef mixture in pot.

Place meat, beef or goat into a large pot with water. Stir vigorously to separate meat and incorporate it throughout water.

Stir in onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, cumin, vinegar, black and red pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for a minimum of two hours, 4 to 6 hours is better.
Add water if necessary.
Just before serving, stirring briskly to keep from forming lump slowly add Masa Harina. Continue to stir briskly to make a smooth, thick sauce.

Adjust salt and red pepper to your taste.

Do’s And Dont’s of a Texas Chili Cook Off

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Chow Chow Relish – Using Late Season Garden Vegetables

Grandma’s CHOW CHOW

1 peck (1/4 bushel) green tomatoes about {12 or 15 pounds}
5 lbs. strong flavored yellow onions
1 large head of cabbage course chopped
5 lbs. sugar
5 red hot chili peppers {you need at least 2 of these and more if you like your chow chow hot and spicy}
2+ cups chopped sweet green bell peppers
2+ cups chopped sweet red bell peppers
2 to 5 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon turmeric
3 or 4 tablespoons celery seed
Optional – 1 package of pickling spices
About 1 qt. of cider vinegar

Slice or dice tomatoes and sprinkle with 1 cup salt, place them in a clean old white pillowcase and hang them from a close line pole over night. {This will remove most of the green tomato juice from your bag of sliced green tomato’s} I’ll bet wrapping your sliced tomato’s in cheese cloth would work just as well.

Chop all vegetables and combine in a large kettle. Stir in salt, let stand covered at room temperature overnight, or at least 8 hours. Drain well.

Rinse and drain green tomato’s and other vegetables only once.
Using a meat grinder, {or course chop by hand} coarse grind tomatoes, cabbage, onions, peppers. In a large pot, add sugar, spices to mixture. Add enough vinegar to almost cover. Cook uncovered over a very low fire for 4 hours. Adding additional vinegar as necessary.

Fill hot sterilized 1 pint canning jars to 1/2 inch from the top and seal.
Makes 8 to 10 pints.
Note: Sterilize jars in a boiling water bath insuring jars are completely covered with water. Don’t forget to sterilize jar tops as well.

Process in a boiling water bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow jars to cool over night. Check to insure all jars sealed properly. Any jar that did not properly seal should be refrigerated and consumed with in a week or so.

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Salsa The Spice Of Summer


Salsa {This is a good basic Salsa}
Prep Time: About 20 minutes
Recipe Yield about 4 cups (2 pints)
Ingredients
4 or 5 large tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped
1 strong yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or {1 Tablespoon dried}
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tomatillo, diced (optional) {Best roasted}
salt to taste
2 – medium or 1 large size mild green Chili peppers de-seeded and course chopped
1 or 2 green or red jalapeno peppers, minced {de-seed and de-vane peppers for pepper flavor and less heat from the peppers}(Use 1 pepper, taste Salsa, adjust salt and pepper to your taste.)

Directions
In a food processor or blender, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, oregano, lime juice, vinegar, tomatillo, hot pepper, mild chili pepper(s), salt to taste. Chop /blend a scant 20 or 30 seconds.
In a non-aluminum pan, over medium heat, warm until Salsa reaches 165 to 180 degrees. {Use meat thermometer to check temperature} Pack into (2) hot sterilized pint jars, Seal tightly, when cool, this may take several hours, refrigerate Salsa. Salsa will keep safely under refrigeration for 1 or 2 months.
For longer storage, process Salsa for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. Cool over night, check to insure jars sealed properly. Store in a cool dark place. Salsa will safely keep 1 or more years.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information.
Calories: 53
Total Fat: 0.5g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 13mg
Total Carbs: 11.7g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1g
Protein: 2.3g

Avocado Feta cheese Dip
A chunky, savory summer dip that tastes great with tortilla or corn chips or as a topping for corn or flour tacos.
Prep Time: About 20 Minutes
Recipe Yields about 12 servings
Ingredients

2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 ripe avocado – peeled, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or {1/2 Tablespoon dried}
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar {replace with fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice}
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese or {Diced / Grated cheese that you like}
(1 de-seeded finely chopped green or red hot pepper to add more spice to your life)

Directions:
In a bowl, gently stir together avocado, pepper, onion, and garlic. Mix in tomatoes, parsley and oregano. Gently stir in olive oil and vinegar. Then stir in feta {cheese of your choice}. Cover with plastic wrap. Best served chilled for 2 hours.

Nutritional Information
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Calories: 66
Total Fat: 5.6g
Cholesterol: 8mg
Sodium: 108mg
Total Carbs: 2.8g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3g
Protein: 1.8g

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10 Easy to grow garden crops

The Old Farmers Almanac Has a lot of Useful as well as fun information for farmers and Gardeners no matter how big or small your farm / garden or your age.

Mother Earth News What mother earth news about says the 10 Best Garden Crops for Beginners.

If you’re a beginner, consider starting with the 10 crops discussed below. All are easy to grow, and this combination offers lots of possibilities for cooking. Some of these crops are best grown by setting out started seedlings, but most are easy to grow from a packet of seed planted directly in your garden soil.

1. Radishes. Radishes do well even in not so great garden soil and are ready to harvest in only a few weeks(3-5). Plant the seeds anytime the air temperatures remain above freezing.

2. Salad greens (beet and turnip tops, lettuce, spinach, arugula and corn salad). Pick your favorite, or try a mix. Many companies sell mixed packets for summer and winter gardening. Plant the seeds in spring and fall, and you can pick salads almost year round.

3. Green beans. Easy to grow and prolific. If you get a big crop, they freeze well, and they’re also delicious when pickled with dill as dilly beans. Start with seeds after all danger of frost has passed.

4. Onions. Start with small plants, and if they do well, you can harvest bulb onions. If not, you can always eat the greens.

5. Strawberries. Perfectly ripe strawberries are unbelievably sweet, and the plants are surprisingly hardy. Buy bare root plants in early spring. Put this perennial in a sunny spot and keep it well watered and weed free.

6. Peppers. Both hot peppers and bell peppers are easy to grow. Start with plants and let peppers from the same plant ripen for different lengths of time to get a range of colors and flavors.

7. Bush zucchini. This squash won’t take up as much room in your garden as many other types, and it’s very prolific. Start from seeds or transplants. You won’t need more than a few plants for a bumper crop.

8. Tomatoes. There’s just no substitute for a perfectly ripe homegrown tomato, and it’s hard to go wrong when you start with strong plants. If you get a big crop, consider canning or freezing your excess tomato’s.

9. Basil. Many herbs are easy to grow, but basil is a good choice because it’s a nice complement to tomatoes or any tomato dish. Basil is easy to grow from seeds or from transplants.

10. Potatoes. An easy-to-grow staple that stores well when kept cool. A simple and low maintenance approach is to plant potatoes in straw rather than soil. ‘Seeds’ are whole or cut sections of potatoes, sold in early spring.

Lifehacker has a lot of good useful information for the novice gardener, even if some of it is a bit on the wacky side of gardening.

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Mama And Doctors

Eat Your Vegetables – Mama Said and Mama was right ‘again’.

Some vegetables, flavors intensify as the plant matures, which is why the so called baby versions have a wide taste appeal with just as many health benefits.
Experiment with baby artichokes, beans, beets, cucumbers(2-4 inches long), okra(small is better), peppers, turnips and squashes(4-5 inches long) and carrots (the ones sold in bunches, with greens still attached not those sold in plastic bags, which are simply regular carrots, trimmed down.

You can find the babies at larger supermarkets, specialty grocers, and farmers’ markets such as younger brussels sprouts, can even be bought frozen. Not only do many people find baby vegetables more flavorful and less bitter, but they prefer the texture, too. Young vegetables are tender and require less cooking time.

Brussels sprout salad:
Slice vert thin, add a small amount of vinegarette dressing, toss well and let set for 20-30 minutes. Toss again to coat sprouts with dressing and add a few roasted pine nuts just before serving.

Oil them up judiciously using fats especially heart healthy ones like olive oil can go far in helping you love your veggies. When fat binds with seasonings and spices, it can transform vegetables from a duty diet item to something downright yummy. The link between vegetable avoidance and certain cancers is strong enough to justify a few oil added calories.

Raw veggies probably aren’t the first thing you crave when a snack attack strikes, but you’ll be much more tempted to eat them when they’re dunked in hummus, low fat dip, or your favorite salad dressing. Try munching at work, in front of the TV or when surfing the internet. Snacking on veggies away from the dinner table makes eating them feel like less of a health chore.

The poor lonely onion family, which includes leeks, shallots, and garlic, is rich in compounds suspected to fight cancer, says nutritionist Valerie Green, MPH. But for onion haters, the sharp flavors and strong smells can be almost nauseating. Try slow roasting plants in the onion family, which brings out the sweetness and cuts the sharpness. Brush leeks, shallots, garlic or thick sliced onions with a little olive oil(or ‘real’ butter) wrap in foil packets, and toss on the grill to mild down take the sting.

Tomato’s little secret is making sure you buy those that are vine ripened which eliminates almost all the bitter flavors, says Autar Mattoo, PhD, a molecular biologist with the USDA.

Over mature eggplants are bitter, but the size of this fiber and potassium packed vegetable isn’t your best clue. If your thumb leaves an indent that doesn’t bounce back, the eggplant will be spongy, tough, and bad tasting, even if it’s a little one. To further improve taste, check out its “belly button” at the blossom end, eggplants have either an oval or round dimple. Buy only the ovals.

To reduce eggplant’s bitter tendencies even more, after you slice it, sprinkle it with salt, then wait about half hour, rinse, pat dry and proceed with your recipe. Salt draws out water which contains the bitter tasting compounds.
Eggplants are worth the trouble. The insides of these veggies are high in polyphenols the same chemicals that make apples so good for you.

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Town & Country – Farm & Ranch Stores

I reside in USDA zone 7. My last average last frost date is about the 10th of April.
Armed with that trivial information and my nifty little computer generated calender, I have determined that it’s only 61 days until it’s relative safe to plant frost sensitive vegetables.

Fruit trees are breaking bud and will be in full bloom in a week or so. Ornamental shrubs, trees and spring flowering plants will soon burst into full bloom.

Guess what gang. Stores that sell things like vegetable seed and seedlings, things like tomato’s, peppers, onion sets, potato sets are putting out displays of nice looking seedlings for gardeners that don’t have a clue about last frost dates and those that truly believe that because we have had a week of frost free weather, winter has come to an end.

Gardeners thinking with their eyes and an over whelming desire to plant this years vegetable garden will invest a lot of money in seed and seedlings. In a week or so weather will return to it’s normal temperatures, seed will fail to germinate because the soil is to cool for most seed to germinate and seedlings will be killed when temperatures fall below 32%(0% C) for several hours or even several days.

Don’t fall for mother natures winter tricks.

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USDA Hardness Zone 6 & 7, Up Coming Projects

Only 40 more days of Winter ‘with luck’ , Equinox (Spring) arrives on my Tiny Farm Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 11:30 PM CDT. My last average Frost date is April 10th.
As of this morning my 2 inch and 4 inch soil temperatures were 45F and 46F. That is the signal that I can soon safely start putting out Garlic and Onion sets. Start planting Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Turnips, Spinach and Beet seed can be planted.

If the air temperature gets warm enough I will venture out into the garden and finish fall clean up. I still have plant litter to burn and some materials to be put on the compost pile. Gas up the tiller and ready seed beds for planting this springs vegetable crops.

As a side note, I discovered 4 potato’s sprouting in my potato bin. My soil is not well suited for growing potato’s but I do have four 6 gallon buckets that will be recycled and used as potato growing containers this year.
I know Master Gardeners say “don’t plant sprouting supermarket potato’s.” However it’s either plant them or they will be chicken food!
Smiling, hard to find anything better than fresh new potato’s to compliment a mess of fresh picked peas or beans.

Projects that may not be on your radar.
Zone 6
* Sow seeds in starter pots for Spring planting.
* Prune fruit/nut trees, grape vines, rose bushes and berry patches to remove winter damage.
* Feed cool-season lawns.
** If you use a preeminence lawn treatment to prevent weed seed from germinating February is a good time to make that treatment. Carefully follow package instruction for proper application.
* Removing winter mulch and lightly cultivating soil.
* Sow seeds for cool weather vegetables (late February to mid-March)
* Sow frost-tolerant perennials indoors.
* Divide and replant summer and fall blooming perennials(when soil is warm enough to be easy to work).
* Plant bare root and container roses, trees and fruiting vines.

Zone 7
* Sow seeds of warm-season annuals in starter pots.
* Set out summer flowering bulbs
* Plant fall blooming bulbs
* Plant balled-and-burlapped, container, and bare root fruit trees and fruiting vines.
* Apply dormant spray to fruit trees before buds swell.
* Spray apples, peaches, and pears that have been affected with canker problems.
* Plant seedlings of cool-weather vegetables(check your soil temperature).
* Sow seeds for frost tolerant perennials.
* Sow seeds for hardy perennials.
* Plant container, balled-and-burlappedand bare-root trees, shrubs, vines and roses.
* Plant summer blooming shrubs and vines.
* Plant frost tolerant trees.
* Plant conifers and broad-leaf evergreens.

Turn the compost pile, add any soiled hay, grass, bedding and manure mulch which was removed from livestock barns, shelters, rabbit hutches and poultry coops. Don’t have a compost pile! Now is a good time to start one.

Clean and disinfect livestock barns, sheds, rabbit hutches and poultry coops. Don’t forget to disinfect water and feed containers. Clean and disinfect nest boxes add new nesting materials to nest boxes. If necessary spray inside walls, floor, ceiling, nest boxes and roost to control mites.

Repair winter damaged fences and gates. Check barns, sheds, hutches and coops for winter damage, repair as necessary.

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Freezing Homegrown Tomato’s Is Easy

Freezing Raw Tomatoes (with or without their skins).

Frozen tomatoes are best used in cooked dishes such as soups, sauces and stews. Tomatoes become mushy when they’re thawed for use.

To quickly freeze raw tomatoes without blanching them first.Tomatoes may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or puréed.
Tomatoes should be seasoned just before serving not ate the time they are prepared for freezing. Freezing may strengthen or weaken seasonings flavors such as garlic, onion, and herbs.

Washing tomatoes, wet each tomato with water, rub its surface, rinse it with running water, and dry it with a paper towel. After washing, cut away the stem scar and surrounding area and discard it before slicing or chopping the tomato.

Washing tomatoes in a sink filled with water is not recommended since contaminated water can be absorbed through the fruit’s stem scar. The use of soap or detergent is not recommended for washing fruits and vegetables because they can absorb detergent residues.

Dry them well by blotting with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Freezing whole tomatoes with peels on: Wash and clean tomatoes as described above.
Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets and freeze.
Note Tomatos may be placed directly in bags and frozen. Limit the number of tomato’s in each bag to the number anticipated for 1 meal or dish.

Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes from the cookie sheets into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly.
Using frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time or all at once. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm/hot tap water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

Freezing peeled tomatoes: If you prefer to freeze peeled tomatoes, you can wash the tomatoes and then dip them in boiling water for about 1 minute or until the skins split. Peel and then freeze as described above.

Source Freezing Raw Tomatoes (with or without their skins)

Source Freezing Tomatoes – National Center for Home Food Preservation

Approximate Yields for Canned or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
Raw Products Measure & Weight Approximate Quart Jars or Containers Needed Approximate Pounds Needed for 1 Quart Jar or Container
Fruits
Apples 1 bushel (48 pounds) 16 to 20 2½ to 3
Apples (for sauce) 1 bushel (48 pounds) 15 to 18 2½ to 3½
Apricots 1 lug (24 pounds) 9 to 12 2 to 2½
Berries (except strawberries & cranberries) 24-quart crate (36 pounds) 12 to 18 1½ to 3 (1- to 2-quart boxes)
Cantaloupes 1 crate (60 pounds)   1 large melon
Cherries
(with stems)
1 bushel (56 pounds) 22 to 32 (unpitted) 2 to 2½
1 lug (box) (15 pounds) 6 to 7 (unpitted) 2 to 2½
Cranberries 1 bushel (100 pounds) 100 1
1 box (25 pounds) 25 1
Figs 1 box (6 pounds) 2 to 3 2 to 2½
Grapes 1 bushel (48 pounds) 10 to 12 4
Grapes, Western 1 lug (28 pounds) 7 to 8 4
Grapes, Eastern 12 – quart basket (18 pounds) 3 to 4 4
4 – quart basket (6 pounds) 1 4
Grapefruit
Florida, Texas &
California
1 bag or ½ box (40 pounds) 5 to 8 4 to 6 fruits
1 box (65 pounds) 8 to 13 4 to 6 fruits
Nectarines Flat (18 pounds) 6 to 9 2 to 3
Peaches 1 bushel (50 pounds) 19 to 25 2 to 2½
Pears 1 bushel (50 pounds) 20 to 25 2 to 2½
1 box (46 pounds) 19 to 23 2 to 2½
1 crate (22 pounds) 8 to 11 2 to 2½
Pineapple (with top) 1 crate (70 pounds) 20 to 28 2½  (2 average)
Plums 1 crate (70 puunds) 28 to 35 2 to 2½
1 bushel (56 pounds) 24 to 30 2 to 2½
Rhubarb 15 pounds 7 to 11 2
Strawberries 24-quart crate (36 pounds) 12 to 16 6 to 8 cups
1 crate (60 pounds) 17 to 23 2½ to 3½
1 lug (32 pounds) 9 to 12 2½ to 3½
Tomatoes (for juice) 1 bushel (53 pounds) 12 to 16 3 to 3½
1 crate (60 pounds) 17 to 20 3 to 3½
1 lug (32 pounds) 8 to 10 3 to 3½
Vegetables
Asparagus 1 bushel (24 pounds) 8 to 12 2 to 3
1 crate (30 pounds) 10 to 15 2 to 3
Beans, lima
(in pods)
1 bushel (30 pounds) 5 to 8 4 to 5
Beans, green or wax 1 bushel (30 pounds) 15 to 20 1½ to 2
Beets (without tops) 1 bushel (52 pounds) 17 to 20 2½ to 3
Broccoli 1 crate (25 pounds) 10 to 12 2 to 3
Brussels Sprouts 4 quarts 1 to 1½ 2
Cabbage 1 bag or 1 crate (50 pounds) 16 to 20> 2½ to 3
Cabbage, Western 1 crate (80 pounds) 26 to 32 2½ to 3
Carrots
(without tops)
1 bushel (50 pounds) 16 to 20 2½ to 3
Cauliflower 1½-bushel crate (37 pounds) 12 to 18 2 medium heads
Corn, Sweet
(in husks)
1 bushel (35 pounds) 8 to 9 (as kernels) 4 to 5
Cucumbers 1 bushel (48 pounds) 24 to 30 1½ to 2
Eggplant 1 bushel (33 pounds)> 15 to 18 2 average
Greens 1 bushel (18 pounds) 8 to 9 2 to 3
Okra 1 bushel (30 pounds) 19 to 21
Peas, Field 1 bushel (25 pounds) 6 to 7 3½ to 4

Peas, Green
(in pods)

1 bushel (30 pounds) 6 to 8 4 to 5
Peppers 1 bushel (25 pounds) 17 to 21 1¹⁄3
Potatoes, Irish 1 bushel (60 pounds) 18 to 22 2½ to 3
Pumpkin     1½ to 3
Spinach 1 bushel (20 pounds) 4 to 9 2 to 6
Squash (Summer) 1 bushel (40 pounds) 16 to 20 2 to 3
Squash (Winter)     3
Sweet Potatoes (cured) 1 bushel (50 pounds) 16 to 25 2 to 3

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Happy Days – My Garden Weeds Are Getting Sick

grape vine 2015 In Southwest Oklahoma it mostly stopped raining May of 2008. I think our long running dry spell has been sent into the history books. So far this month my tiny garden has received more than 15 inches(380mm) of rain. Another storm pasted over head last evening dumping 3/4 of an inch in less than 30 minutes.

The garden seed people are loving the thunder storm. Every time I plant squash and cucumbers it comes a hard rain and washes my seed out of the ground. I’m getting a lot of experience in planting / replanting garden seed.

If I can get a full day of sunshine I will re-re-replant squash and cucumbers. Maybe it will dry out enough before the forecast weekend thunder storms arrive to replant my okra patch as well.
It may even get dry enough that I can hoe a few of my unwanted plants like johnson grass!

Grin … one good side benefit of all this May rain is it is killing many of the weeds that have taken up home in my garden plot. It seems that careless weeds(pig weed), bind weed(wild morning glory) and henbit do not like their roots setting in water or really wet soil. However, ragweed doesn’t seem to be effected by the wet soils.

Grape vine update, All three vines have leafed out and are sending out runners. At this rate I will need to get my trellis up this summer to start training my vines.

corn may 2015 Corn is setting ears, but, the rain keeps washing away my fertilizer applications faster than I can apply the fertilized. FYI – I’m using a NPK, 13-13-13 shotgun blast approach. Clay soil is generally low in nitrogen. That’s the reason for the 13 percent nitrogen content approach to amending garden fertility.

Tomato’s are not looking well. Roots have been setting in wet soil and they are beginning to really suffer.
Onions still in the ground have started to rot and I have decided to plant more pumpkins in the area now taken up by my failing onion crop.

As a side note. I have noticed the my hens and pullets have started growing web feet.

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Rain Water 100 % Better Than Tap Water

Two days of 50 and 60 degree weather and almost 2 inches of rain. Radishes seem to double in size and onions have shot up by at least 2 inches or more in the past 2 days. Grin … that’s a good thing. Tomato’s seedlings have stalled out and are waiting for warmer weather to resume growing.

With this nice rain, soil is wet enough that I will plant a short row of Detroit beets and another row of Turnips. I’m not a big fan of turnip roots but I do like young tender beet and turnip greens.

Today is a good day to empty, clean and refill my hummingbird feeders.

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